IndyHall: Rethinking roommates and row homes

IndyHall, a “coworking space and community” for creative types in Old City, is dabbling in cohousing with K’House. The apartment building, planned for Kensington South, will feature six self-contained units, plus a common kitchen, dining room, living room/media center, roof deck and basement rec room. The groundbreaking will happen in about six months; for now IndyHall is focused on finding people who want to live communally. But don’t call K’House a dorm.

“‘Dorm’ elicits things we aren’t. You’re not forced to interact with people. You can have privacy,” says IndyHall co-founder Alex Hillman. “I mean, you could call IndyHall a frat house for creatives. But it’s not.”

At IndyHall (short for Independents Hall), freelancers and others without an office to go to can rent desks and, ideally, eventually collaborate with each other. The goal is to build relationships first, Hillman explains. “It’s not speed-dating, pressure-cooker networking. It’s organic.”

The same concept is being applied to K’House. Hillman, who is also K’House’s first confirmed resident, is busy meeting his future neighbors by setting up barbecues and showing up at neighborhood events — and bringing IndyHall’s community of young professionals (and potential K’House dwellers) along.

“We want to bring new positive energy to the neighborhood, but we’re just as interested in finding the great things that are already there,” Hillman says.

If you build it …

K’House’s eco-conscious developer, Postgreen Homes, has already put up a handful of “green” homes in the Kensington/Fishtown area. This is the company’s first foray into multi-family housing (and cohousing, too).

“A lot of cohousing communities eat dinner together a few times a week, or other things like that. But

all that stuff gets decided by the community, not by us. We just make it possible,” says Nic Darling of Postgreen. “Philadelphia is sort of stuck on the single-family row home — we like to find different ways to test that.”

Meet the team

Interested in cohousing? Want to see who thinks this is a good idea? IndyHall is celebrating its fourth anniversary with a party tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Frankford Hall, the Stephen Starr beer garden in Fishtown, not far from the future site of K’House.

If you can’t make the festivities but still want to follow what’s happening in the world of cohousing, check out the K’House website:

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